The South Coast Real Estate Round-Up

SCAM ALERT: Email Scam Targeting the Real Estate Industry

July 8th, 2017 11:02 PM by Christopher Terry


Since 2015, Real Estate Brokers have been on high alert about a scam targeting agents and their clients. Criminals have been hacking into the email accounts of real estate agents and using the information gained to convince people into a fraudulent wire transfer. 


The scam goes like this: you’ll receive an email that appears to be from an individual legitimately involved in the transaction, informing the recipient-- often the buyer--that there has been a last minute change to the wiring instructions. The victims of this scam follow the new instructions and wire funds directly to the hacker’s account. The scammer’s account will be cleared out in a matter of minutes and the money is almost always lost forever.

This time of year is one of the busiest for agents when it comes to closing on homes, so this is exactly the time of year that we tend to see an increase in this type of scam. Though none of EZ Home Search’s clients or agents have been involved in the scam, we like to inform our buyers just in case.

If you do find yourself in the middle of this email scam, there are ways to prevent yourself from being a victim. These tips include:

  • If you receive a suspicious email, immediately contact all parties to all of your upcoming transactions and inform them of the possibility of this fraud. Attorneys, escrow agents, buyers, sellers, real estate agents, and title agents have all been targeted in these scams.

    If possible, do not send sensitive information via email.  If you must use email to send sensitive information, use encrypted email.

  • Do not trust contact information in unverified emails. The hackers will recreate legitimate-looking signature blocks with their own telephone number and website.

    Never click on any links in an unverified email.  In addition to leading you to fake websites, these links can contain viruses and other malicious spyware that can make your computer – and your transactions – vulnerable to attack.

  • Never conduct business over unsecured wifi.
  • If money has been wired via false wiring instructions, immediately call all banks and financial institutions that could possibly put a stop to the wire.
  • Contact your local police. 

 

Posted by Christopher Terry on July 8th, 2017 11:02 PM

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